Community conservation program

Article image - Community conservation program The endangered Western Whipbird.

The Shire of Jerramungup, Western Australia, is using social media to help with conservation efforts within the community.

The threatened and endangered fauna social media series is designed to engage the community with the intention of encouraging their involvement in future environmental protection projects.

The first series released will help the Shire conduct a field study and raise community awareness of one of Australia’s most elusive and rarest birds, the Western Whipbird.

The Whipbird is more commonly heard and not seen as their feathers camouflage well within the Shire's protecting Mallee habitat.

Their low lying nests are vulnerable and easily damaged by bush fires, feral animal attacks and vegetation clearing.

The Western Whipbird is becoming extinct in many areas across Australia with the Jerramungup area a known sighting area for avid birdwatchers.

The field study is hoping to pinpoint exact Western Whipbird locations within the 6507 square km Jerramungup area which was re-enlisted, this year by UNESCO, as part of the Fitzgerald Biosphere Reserve.

The Shire will use Facebook as a tool for raising conservation awareness, promoting Shire field studies and gathering community endangered animal sighting information.

The Shire wants to encourage people to submit photos of their wildlife observations, and pinpoint their location by using the Facebook messenger app, at the time of the sighting through their mobile device.

Facebook messenger is a free, private and convenient way for people to communicate, as it is the most common social media platform.

The first social media series on the Western Whipbird reached over 1500 people in its first day, for a small Shire of roughly 1100 permanent residents, this is a substantial result.